January 20, 2022

Archivist of the United States on the Competencies NARA Wants For Archives Specialists

Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero spoke to those attending the ALISE conference in January.

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Here are the competencies NARA wants for its archives specialists.

In addition to requiring traditional knowledge of archival principles, practices, and techniques, we require:

The ability to think creatively—problem solving skills. Determining the critical issues, gathering and analyzing information from multiple sources, and targeting the root cause of problems. Generating creative solutions based on a consideration of their impact and implications. Developing and implementing new ideas and ways of thinking to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity.

The ability to achieve results—execution and results. Planning and organizing time to work productively and efficiently and maximizing the quality and quantity of work. Ensuring individual priorities and goals are aligned with team, manager, and agency plans and needs. Increasing and redirecting efforts in the face of challenging obstacles, changing priorities, or increasing demands.

The ability to build relationships—interpersonal skills. Developing and maintaining professional, trusting, and positive working relationships with others at all levels, internal and external to the organization. Initiating communication and partnerships across boundaries, working effectively with diverse teams to drive collective results and advance organizational priorities.

The ability to promote customer service satisfaction. Ensuring internal and/or external customers receive the level of service that builds their trust and confidence, even in difficult or complex situations. Developing and implementing plans to meet customer needs and expectations, removing barriers to delivering customer service and support, and taking the initiative to improve processes based on customer feedback.

The ability to communicate with impact. Conveying information to others clearly and respectfully. Tailoring the amount, style, and content of messages to the needs of the audience and handling and resolving questions and contrary opinions in a positive and constructive manner.

The ability to promote organizational awareness. Acting to support the agency’s mission and function, clarifying and promoting the value and importance of agency programs, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations.

The ability to influence/negotiate with others. Promoting ideas and proposals persuasively. Shaping others’ opinions, convincing or persuading others, and gaining support through own action/examples in an ethical manner. Achieving mutually satisfying agreements in negotiations with others.

The ability to demonstrate business savvy. Applying business principles, methods, and processes (e.g., ROI, cost-benefit analysis) to solve problems. Driving business results by planning and prioritizing activities consistent with organizational goals, using data and evaluating the costs, benefits, and impact on others when making business decisions.

The ability to manage projects. Achieving desired outcomes on projects, on time, and within budget. Designing and planning the project, defining the project workflow, and managing the project team. Controlling and providing project deliverables, optimizing the contribution of the people involved, and making decisions and assessing the impact of those decisions on quality, productivity, schedules, cost, performance, etc.

The ability to conduct research and analysis. Conceptualizes and defines the condition, value, and significance of the information and evaluates the potential future use. Recommending appropriate actions based on analytical finding and conclusions, considering properties, resources, and organization and customer goals.

The ability to lead teams. Leading teams of diverse individuals that can work collaboratively to achieve business objectives; openly communicating, discussing, and working through team objectives; and promoting shared accountability for individual and team performance.

The ability to embrace continual learning. Seeking opportunities to expand knowledge and skills through formal and informal training and feedback. Identifying and levering own strengths and developmental needs and striving to improve own skills. Demonstrating and supporting continual learning and sharing knowledge and expertise with others.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.